The Atlanta Braves got hot, nearly letting a seven-point lead slip away, but they beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-7 to take a 2-0 lead in the National League Championship Series on Tuesday in Arlington. .
The Dodgers produced four runs in the final set and the tie was on second, but Mark Melancon called out AJ Pollock to end the game.
Freddie Freeman produced three runs in the win, most notably with his second long ball of the playoffs to open the scoring in the fourth inning. A single then allowed him to push Cristian Pache towards home plate during the next engagement.
Ozzie Albies added some with a solo homerun in the final round, producing that ultimately turned out to be the point that made the difference.
The Braves supported their offensive success with good defensive play in the first part of the game. In the first inning, Austin Riley deftly grabbed a powerful ground strike at third base before throwing good for the out to Freeman at first pad.
In the fifth round, the two men joined forces once again, this time with those of Albies, to end the engagement with a double play.
The work of the Braves’ first two pitchers is not to be overlooked either, starting with starter Ian Anderson. He shut out his opponents for four innings. He still allowed five walks while striking out as many hitters.
Tyler Matzek then limited the Californians to a hit and a free pass over two innings.
The Dodgers’ first offensive jolt came from Corey Seager’s bat in the seventh inning. Max Muncy also sent a ball into the stands in the loss.
A mark absent
The Dodgers, for their part, had to do without starter Clayton Kershaw’s services as the southpaw is struggling with back spasms. The return to the pitcher’s mound will not take place in the third matchup scheduled for Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts confirmed to MLB.com. Kershaw has a good chance of returning to action during the series, however.
In the regular season, the gunner was 6-2 with a 2.16 earned-run average. He’s also won his two 2020 playoff starts so far.
The coach called on rookie Tony Gonsolin to try to level the playing field in the best of seven games. He was unable to limit the damage, conceding five runs, three hits from a safe place and as many walks in four innings and a third of work.